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B.C. dental college urges immediate halt to 'non-essential' visits due to COVID-19

Last Updated Mar 16, 2020 at 4:21 pm PDT

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The college issued a series of recommendations, one being to cancel all non-essential and elective dental services

The College of Dental Surgeons of B.C. is urging strict patient screening for those who require treatment

The college is also asking anyone who attended the 2020 Pacific Dental Conference to immediately self-isolate

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — All non-essential dental procedures have been suspended as part of the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“In the words of our prime minister today, exceptional circumstances are calling for exceptional measures, and it is time to take every precaution to keep people safe,” says a statement from the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia, issued Monday.

The college is making a series of recommendations, one being to immediately cancel all “non-essential” and “elective” dental services.

“Management of emergent concerns by registrants must continue. These would include patients requiring immediate treatment due to infection, acute pain and/or trauma. The oral health care provider can determine the best place and manner in which the care can be delivered safely and appropriately. Management may include referral to an appropriate facility,” the statement reads.

Stepping up of patient screening in cases where treatment is requires is being emphasized.

“All registrants must perform a thorough pre-treatment risk assessment that includes risk to the patient, to the oral heath care provider and to the greater community before any treatment is undertaken,” says the college.

“If risks are identified that cannot be immediately or sufficiently mitigated, the determined care must be postponed or referred to an appropriate provider. Pre-screening of patients by phone is preferable.”

The province announced 30 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, and said a “significant number of new cases” are related to a dental conference earlier this month.

The college is reiterating advice from the province for anyone who was at the 2020 Pacific Dental Conference to self isolate until March 22.

With files from Martin MacMahon